There’s always some excitement when you unpack a new product from the box, and Shark’s lightweight Evoline Series 3 Pro Carbon helmet was no exception. But when I pulled it from the box by its base, the rubber trim at the front opening came off in my hand.
Not a good start. The trim is held on by glue, so it wouldn’t just snap back on, but even the most appropriate super glue wouldn’t hold it back in place. To make matters worse, when I pulled ever so gently on the trim at the opposite side of the helmet’s base, it also came away, just like that.
I tried half-a-dozen different glues and epoxies, for rubber and plastic and everything in between, but none would work. When you wear the helmet, those end trims are directly in the wind and if they come away just a little, they’ll soon be flapping in the breeze and come away a lot. As well, those are the points of the helmet that you want to hold onto when you pull it on and off your head.
In the end, I found some electrical tape and stuck the trim back into place with it. That did the trick. You can’t really see the black tape against the black helmet unless you’re up close, but even so, this just shouldn’t happen on a $700 helmet.
Okay, let’s forget about the trim for the moment and look at the rest of the helmet. It’s very light and it’s very comfortable and it quickly became my go-to helmet. Shark’s been making the Evoline Series for a few years now and it’s been successful but a bit heavy; this Pro Carbon edition uses carbon fibre and multi-axial glass fibres (whatever they are) to bring down the weight from 1,820 grams to 1,715 g. That doesn’t sound like much, but it makes a lot of difference to the comfort of your neck on a ride. It comes at a price though: the Pro Carbon costs about $250 more than the regular Evoline Series 3.
The helmet’s great advantage is that the chin piece can be locked in place at the front to create a full-coverage helmet, or can be flipped right over the top to sit securely in place at the back, turning it into a three-quarter lid. Most other modular helmets don’t do this. They flip up so you can talk easily at a gas station, or have a drink or a snack without removing your helmet and showing everyone your sweaty hair, but they jut forward like the front of a ferry during loading and are unsafe for riding while open. The Evoline 3, however, is certified safe for riding whether the helmet is closed or open. It really is two helmets in one.
To be honest, I like an open helmet while riding (yes, I know I’ll lose my chin and probably more if I crash and hit it against the ground), but not always. A sportbike needs a closed helmet, while the ride on a cruiser or tourer often benefits from an open helmet. When it rains, you want a closed helmet. When you’re puttering around the countryside on your vintage or retro bike, you want an open helmet. The Evoline 3 provides both at the same time, and both look good. We’re not talking half-helmet beanies here, but effective three-quarter coverage, and it really is a very clever design.
The Evoline 3 is loaded with features. There’s a second tinted visor inside the rim that works very well (it’s rated at UV380) and makes you look like Robocop. It means you don’t need to bring sunglasses, but if you do, you can ride comfortably directly into the sun with a dual layer of shading. There’s a new channel cut into the inside foam as well, so the arms of your glasses can fit inside the helmet without being pressed hard against your temples and encouraging headaches. When it gets dark, don’t bother with the integrated sun visor and just use the full, clear visor. It extends fully whether the chin bar is in place at the front or locked away on the back.
Like most helmets these days, there are ventilation channels that can be opened on the chin piece and at the top of the helmet to allow air to run through the inside. It’s a good idea and I always open the front channel to provide a fresh breeze for breathing, but I can rarely tell if the channels above my hair are open or not. The Evoline Series 3 was no different.
The chin bar is easily flippable by just pressing on a large, central lock button at the very front. You can do this fairly easily on the move with just one hand if you’re moving the bar to the back, but if you’re bringing it forward, to create a full-face helmet, you’re best to do this while parked. Both sides of the bar need to click into place and that needs both hands, which is not recommended at speed. Also, when you do this, your fingers will be fumbling and pulling on the rubber trim, so if it’s not come away yet, it soon will.
Full or three-quarters, the helmet is very comfortable but it’s not especially quiet – certainly not to a Shoei or Arai standard. You’ll want ear plugs for much more than a short ride, and this starts to become an issue if you ride with speakers in your helmet: If the helmet is loud, you need to crank the sound even louder to make it heard, and if you’re wearing ear plugs, you need to crank it very loud indeed, which is a terrible habit for hearing loss in the long term.
The Evoline Series 3 comes ready for fitting the integrated but optional “Sharktooth” intercom bluetooth system, for staying in touch with a passenger or other riders, or just listening to music or even making phone calls. We’ll have a review of this $332 system soon and will attach the link here when it’s ready.
So is it worth it? The Evoline Series 3 Pro Carbon is not cheap but a good helmet shouldn’t be cheap – it should be safe, and it should be comfortable. This Shark is both of those and it looks good too, whether it’s a full-face or a three-quarter lid.
Its main advantage over any other helmets on the market is that it transforms in moments between a closed and an open style. Both are effective and rated as safe for riding, and neither look dorky.
Its disadvantage is that it’s a bit loud to wear on the highway, though ear plugs quickly solve that issue. And the rubber trim is not stuck effectively in place. Electric tape can also solve that, but do you really want to sully your helmet with aftermarket sticky tape? No – thought not.